2nd – Jonathan Rea
Average poll score out of ten: 8.3
Jonathan Rea may be one of the more experienced and successful riders on the current WSBK grid, yet in 2014 he was still something of a quiet revelation.
A rider that has raised a few eyebrows over the years with his steadfast loyalty to Honda – at the behest of those who believe he could enjoy better fortune elsewhere -, regardless of opinion around him, there is little denying Rea has the unending ability to wring every last ounce of speed from the Honda CBR1000RR.
As it happens, 2014 would become Rea's final year as a Honda rider in World Superbikes, yet it would also turn out to be the strongest of his six seasons there, not just in terms of results, but also in riding quality.
Indeed, though Rea's decision to keep extending his tenure with Ten Kate Racing has come into some criticism from fans, the Ulsterman has nonetheless developed a remarkable affinity with the bike in that time and that has never been more evident than in 2014.
Whilst the remnants of a niggling electronics package – a persistent complaint of 2013 – occasionally made its presence felt in 2014, Rea was a more consistent rider this season and when the stars aligned, like they did over a truly dominant weekend in Imola, he couldn't be bettered.
Though a relative dip in form during the mid-season promptly snuffed out hopes of a surprise title challenge, Rea was never far from the front and were it not for a slip-off in the rain at Magny-Cours whilst battling for a victory, he would have ended the season having finished no lower than seventh in any race.
A welcome year free from injury, Rea climbed atop the podium on four occasions in 2014, twice at Imola and then at Assen and Portimao, the latter two victories – held in soggy conditions – a testament to his confidence on the bike in tricky weather.
Third in the overall standings – after pipping Marco Melandri in the final race – would prove to be the appropriate parting gift to Honda as he heads for pastures new in 2015 with his much anticipated switch to Kawasaki, which will give those fans a chance to see what he is potentially capable of on different machinery.
In the meantime, Rea can look back on 2014 fondly knowing he gave his best and got his best…
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2013:
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2012:
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2011:
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2010:
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2009:
Do you agree the poll results? If not, why not? Leave your comments below...
WSBK Rider of the Year poll results so far
3. Tom Sykes4. Marco Melandri
5. Chaz Davies
6. Davide Giugliano
7. Loris Baz
8. Leon Camier
9. David Salom
10. Alex Lowes
About the vote:
Rather than repeat the Riders' World Championship standings, the WSBK Rider of the Year poll asks viewers to take into account factors such as machinery, performance relative to a team-mate, riding style, experience, injuries, progress and personality just as much as race results.
Over 40,000 votes were cast for the 2014 Crash.net
WSBK Rider of the Year poll, where viewers awarded each of the top twenty from this year's WSBK standings with a mark out of ten.